- This is Manish Rawat (the one in blue, behind the Chinese athlete). He finished 13th in the 20 km walk event at Rio.
The question was about medals and I’m giving the name of a person who stood 13th! You may wonder why? Here’s why.
This guy from Uttarakhand, works two part time jobs and when he started his career in this sport he used to get the pension money of his father, 1,500 INR (25$) to survive with his family. For every single athlete, countries like US, UK, China and Japan spends thousands of dollars. But here in India, when a guy practices the event on his own, without much help from the government, he is laughed at. 20 km walk might be a funny sight for many because of the posture an athlete has to walk in. But they don’t understand the posture is like that because the feet have to be planted on the ground. It is not a duck walk. When Manish practiced on the streets of India, he was laughed and mocked at. When athletes from most of the countries who have opened there medal account in Rio, were practicing on tracks with high end shoes, this guy from India started his practice on the streets and roads with normal running shoes.
No one (including me) had even heard his name until he achieved this feat. And even now, not many know his story because the main focus is how India hasn’t won a single medal in 2016 Olympics. If you can take the focus out of the medals tally, please read his full story here:
2. Every single Indian knows her today. Yes she is Dipa Karmakar
She won the same 1.25 billion hearts on the eve on our Independence day when she stood 4th in Vault gymnastics among the world’s best gymnasts. She performed the most dangerous ‘death’ vault, Produnova vault to achieve this glory (). But has anyone given a thought, as to why she chose this vault (7.0 difficulty) and not any other vault which is not high risk but with a decent enough difficulty of 6.3 or 6.4? Because that’s how desperate she was to go to Olympics and represent India. Her coach and she knew with the amount of facilities and support provided by our Indian government for gymnasts, they couldn’t qualify at the biggest stage for gymnastics. They had to take this risk. Even though death is possibility, gymnasts try this vault as it guarantees them seven points because of the difficulty level and even a little faulty execution gives them a chance at medal. Dipa did not come 4th because of the high class coaching, facilities, equipment, physios provided to her in India. She did this because she put her life at risk to achieve success and glory.
When you see Indian media showing her videos of training, it is just sad to see the state of the equipment and facilities there. Think for yourself, would Dipa take up this risky vault if she was given the state of art facilities and equipment Simon Biles or Wang Yan received?
3. Lalita Babar, who was the third Indian women athlete to enter a track events finals, stood 10th in her 3000 m steeplechase.
She used to run half marathons earlier to earn the prize money offered by these marathons. Yes, she had a Russian coach for a brief period of time. But did we know her from before until she qualified for the finals? Did she get the training and facilities like her fellow runners from different parts of the world?
4. Dutee Chand, who qualified for women’s 100m in Rio this year, stood 50th.
This picture is of our 100m sprinter Dutee Chand, who was the first Indian women to qualify for Olympics in this event. Yes the same Dutee Chand, who our Sports Minister Vijay Goel, mistook as Srabani Nanda (). How does our own Sports minister doesn’t know who is taking part in Olympics this year? Her story is commendable though. In 2014, she was stuck with hyperandrogenism case. In short, the athletics world failed to recognise Chand as a female. Her family income was a mere 3,000 INR (50$) and it was very tough for her to fight her own case. She was embarrassed and scared to go out of her house. It was a lonely fight for her. But one day, in a landmark CAS judgement, her ability to compete as a female athlete was restored. She worked hard. Broke her own national record. In a similar case, South Africa’s Caster Semenya failed her gender test. But her country fought for her unlike India, whereas Dutee fought for her own dignity and dream all by herself! She may not be the best when compared to other female 100m sprinters, not even close to be in top ten. But what she has achieved today, is something to be proud of.
5. There are many such inspiring stories in the 100 plus Indian contingent which went to Rio this year. The highest till date. We Indians are so proud of them. But instead of receiving the love, they get this.
Goal of Team India at the Olympics: Rio jao. Selfies lo. Khaali haat wapas aao. What a waste of money and opportunity.
— Shobhaa De (@DeShobhaa)
I don’t want to say anything more about why this hateful tweet was written, who wrote it, when was it written etc. All I want to ask is, do they deserve all the hatred without even getting the minimum support and facilities?